TÁR ★★★★

It's not a democracy.

Set in the brutalist Berlin music world, Tár is a thunderous treatise on the fascistic nature of its lead character. Lydia Tár is many things, and all of them are in control. Whether holding a conducting baton, an instrument, a bottle of her partner's pills, or her assistant's laptop, the entire world exists within her firm grasp. She makes her players run on time. Her right hand is time itself. But as with all authoritarians, there is a distance between the interior and the surface. Behind the iron curtain façade is a decaying empire, threatened on all sides by self-induced catastrophe. Lies mount up, paranoia reigns, and with no trusted left hand to sculpt dynamics, the right's incessant beat plunges everything further and further into the heart of darkness. Todd Field's return to the big screen has yielded a wonderful, refreshingly modern film. Set in the pandemic era, it is a brilliant look at social media as an instrument of accountability, one that can unify resistance and topple icons. The film holds up an iPhone and uses it to illustrate the famous words of socialist musician Woodie Guthrie – this machine kills fascists.

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